Showing posts from February, 2013

How I Got 21 Out of 27 Kids to Master 100% of their CVC Words in Kindergarten

In this post, I am going to tell you how I got 21 of my 27 Kindergarten students to master 100% of their consonant-vowel-consonant words! This year, (2013) I have been especially focused on teaching my Kindergartners to sound out words. However, I really haven’t given the children very many formal lessons on it, like I did last year. Instead, this year we have been singing my new sound blending songs since around the beginning of November! And I have to say that I am ecstatically pleased with how this set of songs turned out, and how they are working to help children learn! I have been working with my co-songwriter and arranger Mike Cravens on this project off and on since last summer. Indeed, I have been kicking ideas around in my head for songs to help children learn to read CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) words for several years. The CVC books  themselves have always been top sellers and personal favorites of mine for classroom use, and teachers would often ask me which vi

Managing Running Records in Kindergarten

Today we are going to discuss different ways that doing running records to assess reading can be managed at the Kindergarten level.  Years ago, anyone would have thought that the words “running record” and “Kindergarten” would have never been intentionally paired up in the same sentence, since most children didn’t learn to read in Kindergarten!  However, it seems that the one time “garden for children” has become a great, big “Pressure Cooker Kindergarten” at many schools, and the evidence is showing up in the form of questions that pop up on my blog and Facebook Page about DIBELS testing , running records, and what to do about children that are not allowed to have any recess or play time anymore. It saddens me that so many teachers are dealing with this sort of thing, and saddens me even more to think of the children that whose childhoods are being sacrificed simply because somebody decided that if children learn something earlier, they learn it better.  And I rather disagre

Help! My Child Failed the DIBELS Test!

When children fail tests, parents often panic.  And when children fail tests like DIBELS that parents have never even heard of and don’t understand, the feeling intensifies!  I have received two emails in the past week from worried parents that found my name online while they were searching for information after being told that their child failed the DIBELS test.  So, since this seems to be “testing time” in so many places, I thought I would post the questions (anonymously!) and the answers.   I hope that this is helpful to you! DIBELS testing is coming up in my own classroom very soon.  You’ll never guess when the pull outs have been scheduled for…  February 14, VALENTINE’S DAY!!!  Gee, sounds perfect….   ( Insert heavy sigh here.  We just moved our celebrations to the 15th. ) I also just found this document via one of the comments left by a reader.  It’s really a pdf version of an entire book, called  The Truth About DIBELS, What It Is-What It Does by Ken Goodman.  I

Thirty Quick Ideas For Valentine's Day Mailboxes

Hello, friends!  Today I am going to give you a quick run down of thirty different ideas for using those cute little metal mailboxes that you can usually find for one dollar around this time of year!  I saw a whole shelf full of these mailboxes in the dollar section at Target, and immediately began wondering how many teaching ideas there were out there for those things!  So I snapped a picture and posted it on my HeidiSongs Facebook Page , along with the  question below.  Just LOOK at all of the responses!  I think I counted 30 of them! Have a wonderful day with your little students this year on Valentine’s Day! QUICK! How many uses can you think of for a metal mailbox from the Target dollar section???? Christa Toulson  – Valentine’s Day mailboxes, Post Office dramatic play center, student mailboxes for friends to leave notes in. Lissie Aliotti Antos  – A sight word mail game? Cristina Chica-Munoz – Lots of math can have kids deliver the matching number